One of our contributors, Wombat, breaks through all the BS and tells us what REALLY happened Friday night at the emergency BOCS meeting to set an advertised tax rate:
“News Flash! All those years – including this one – of these big showdowns and death by powerpoint arguments over what tax rate to advertise have been completely unnecessary! The staff can advertise the rate as an administrative item, just like they do in neighboring counties. So they will advertise the 3.88%. That’s what goes in the paper. Now everyone can actually look at the budget and figure out what should stay, what should go, and what the actual rate will end up at. But not before we had to go through two incredibly painful and embarrassing meetings. The county needs to add money to the budget to pay for all the PTSD counseling we need after that.”
A huge thanks to Wombat for setting the record straight. How long were we going to be kept in the dark over this process? How long were we going to be subjected to the antics of the BOCS–with 4 of them trying to get their conservative cred on? (all at the expense of the county residents, I might add.)
Setting a ridiculously low advertised rate such as the one suggested by Pete Candland and supported by his cronies, Lawson, Anderson and Stewart) does nothing but strip away all avenues for discussion and debate. It does nothing to help the schools, regardless of the BS he tells us.
According to Bristowbeat.com:
Still unable to reach a consensus on the advertised tax rate, Friday evening, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors defaulted to advertise the “administrative” property tax rate at 1.145 percent or a 3.88 percent increase of FY16 as per the county’s five-year plan.
If enacted, that would amount to an average increase of $145 annually from FY16. However, with four on the board pushing for a flat tax rate or even lower rate, it is unlikely the 3.88 percent will become the final number in April.
Virginia jurisdictions are required to advertise the tax rate by March 5. However, it is not a final tax rate, but a tax ceiling. Property taxes can always be decreased, but they cannot be increased after the tax rate is advertised.
Board Chairman Corey Stewart (R) told citizens not to interpret the advertised tax rate as an indication that the board is in favor of that number.
While the special meeting was held to allow the board reach consensus, members only achieved gridlock.
Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland (R) did most of the talking, advocating for last year’s tax rate or lower. In a 30-minute speech, Candland made his case for a tax rate of 1.115 percent.
He said he wanted to clear up any confusion. Although it would be a decrease over last year’s rate, it would mean more revenue for the county. It would bring in 6.3 million above this year, a number that he sometimes rounded to $7 million. If the board decided to advertise a flat tax of 1.122 percent, it would bring in an additional $10 million for the county.
Candland said he supports a flat tax because seniors incomes are not keep up with rising taxes, and property taxes this year will have more of an effect on mid to low properties than properties worth half a million or more.
Also advocating for a flat tax of 1.122 or less were Jeanine Lawson (Brentsville), Ruth Anderson (Occcoquan) and Chairman Corey Stewart. Others on the board wanted to advertise according to the five-year plan.
Using seniors as an excuse to go on the cheap is disingenuous. Many seniors can apply for senior tax relief. The cut off is $81,490 household income with assets excluding the home at around $340k. That isn’t exactly being in the poor house! Those who don’t qualify for the senior relief aren’t suffering any more than anyone else in the county. In fact, those with kids probably are suffering a lot more than many of the senior citizens who live in gated communities.
The advertised rate is now at 3.88% higher than last year. With that rate, the BOCS can go lower and can eliminate unneeded spending. Had the rate been set at Candland’s rate, all discussion would have been off the table. It looks like Candland was foiled again by common sense rules. Too bad the residents had to watch the grandstanding and posturing. It was ear-piercing.
We need discussion in this county as to how we want to spend our money. We also need to think beyond ourselves. There is just too much me me me going on.